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  • CONCERNING THE SOBER USAGE OF THE BODY
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    FA45 THIS our body, which God hath made to be the tabernacle and mansion of our soul for this life, if we considered accordingly, we could not but use it otherwise than we do; that is, we would use it for the soulís sake, being the guest thereof, and not for the body itself: and so should it be served in things to help, but not to hinder the soul. A servant it is, and therefore it ought to obey to serve the soul, that the soul might serve God; not as the body will, neither as the soul itself will, but as God will; whose will we should learn to know, and behave ourselves thereafter. The which thing to observe is hard for us now by reason of sin, which hath gotten a mansionhouse in our bodies, and dwelleth in us, as doth the soul: to the which (sin I mean)we are altogether of ourselves inclined, because we naturally are sinners and born in sin; by reason whereof we are ready as servants to sin, and to use our bodies accordingly, making the soul to sit at reward , and pampering up the servant to our shame.

    O therefore, good Lord, that it would please thee to open this gear unto me, and to give me eyes to consider effectually this my body what it is, namely a servant lent for the soul to sojourn in, and serve thee in this life: yea, it is, by reason of sin that hath his dwelling there, become now to the soul nothing else but a prison, and that most strait, vile, stinking, filthy, and therefore in danger of miseries, to many in all ages, times, and places, till death hath turned it to dust; whereof it came, and whither it shall return, that the soul may return to thee from whence it came until the day of judgment come; in the which thou wilt raise up that body, that then it may be partaker with the soul, and the soul with it inseparably, of weal or woe, according to that is done in and by the same body here now in earth. O that I could consider often and heartily these things! Then should I not pamper up this body to obey it, but bridle it that it might obey the soul: then should I fly the pain it putteth my soul unto by reason of sin and provocation to all evil, and continually desire the dissolution of it with Paul, and the 47 deliverance from it, as much as ever did prisoner his deliverance out of prison; for alonely by it the devil hath a door to tempt, and so to hurt me: in it I am kept from thy presence, and thou from being so conversant with me as else thou wouldest be: by it I am restrained from the sense and feeling of all the joys and comforts (in manner) which are to be taken as joys and comforts indeed. If it were dissolved, and I out of it, then could Satan no more hurt me; then wouldest thou speak with me face to face; then the conflicting time were at an end; then sorrow would cease, and joy would increase, and I should enter into inestimable rest.

    O that I considered this accordingly!

    A MEDITATION

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